Could it be one more for the road for unsettled Toon stars?

By Lee Ryder on May 30, 08 09:22 AM

Summer transfers will always be a huge topic for Newcastle United fans and with the last game of the season against Everton just three weeks away already anxiety is building on the streets of Tyneside.

United's small squad needs additions but the holiday season for managers probably means there won't be much action in the next fortnight.

Yet while new fresh faces are needed badly at St James's Park, the players who go out of the exit door could be just as important as those who come in.

It seems that the exits of Peter Ramage, Stephen Carr and James Troisi had to go for the best interests of all concerned.

But should the exodus end there?

Certainly not would be the cry from some sections of Toon fans.

And names like Damien Duff, Alan Smith and Charles N'Zogbia, James Milner and Shola Ameobi have already be linked with moves elsewhere.

Love him or hate him, Shola's exit appears to be in the post with Norwich, Boro and an audacious bid from Toronto FC all potential moves for him.

But United may still end up relying on Duff, N'Zogbia and Milner and while it may not be to some fans liking, Alan Smith, at the start of next season.

If the influx of big names fails to arrive it could be the second chance saloon for these lads - Keegan may yet persuade his unsettled players that it's worth one more crack in a black and white shirt - especially Duff and N'Zogbia.

Perhaps their futures have come under the microscope even more because of KK's 4-3-3 formation at the end of the season.

And the minute United reverted back to 4-4-2 (half-time of the Chelsea game with the scores level), the good run well and truly went out of the window.

But in an era where football is very much a squad game, retaining the services of the majority of those who have been linked with moves away from Tyneside, could be an uncelebrated but vital move for next term.



Paul Patterson said:

I find it amazing that three managers (Souness, Roeder and Allardyce) couldn’t detect what has been obvious for years Shola Ameobi and Stephen Carr are not Premiership standard players.

Kevin Keegan has only been in charge five minutes and he ships out Shola on loan and free transfers Carr.

Of the players that are heavily linked with moves- Only Alan Smith is a player with no previous form at all. When he was at Leeds, playing up front regularly, he was never prolific and only threw himself about a bit- and inevitably got booked or sent off- so he seemed to suit the Sam Allardyce ‘Spoiler’ mentality. £6m? What a waste.

Shola Ameobi is nearly 26 and amazingly, is only 2 years off a testimonial. He has displayed no progression throughout his career and has actually gone backwards- his touch is awful, he’s tall but is surprisingly poor in the air, he’s slow, a poor passer, doesn’t put himself about at all and for someone who has now played alongside the two greatest modern day strikers in Alan Shearer and Michael Owen, he has learned nowt.

Damien Duff has form in his past, but that was three and four years ago, a player I really admired. Sadly he’s 29, no spring chicken and never takes a man on, like he did at Chelsea.

The one thing that links the three, are they are both more than likely on high wages,- Alan Smith a reported £60k a week and it’s fair to say Duff will be on even more than that. Ameobi probably isn’t, but with Mike Ashley wanting to slash the wage bill- these three MUST go, they are so bleedingly obvious. Trouble is finding a buyer.

The other two, Milner and N’Zogbia are different, they are both young, seem to be getting better by the season, have similar attributes and in a good side, would look far better than they do at present.

N’Zogbia seem to be temperamental and if he wants the bright lights of London and to be with his family, then fine, why keep him? But in everyday work, if someone offered me a job on £40k plus a week to be away from the family- I’d ask- ‘Quick, where do I sign? Has he not heard of trains, planes, or visits, or doesn’t his fabulous wage cover that?

James Milner is different altogether, he has never been any trouble, never banged down the door for a new contract, never mumbled when left out and on the field he gets better by the year. A proper youngster with a good future. Keep him.

One other player, who I also admired and liked the look of, but one I’d also get rid of, is Emre. He just can’t stay fit for more than two games in succession. He must suffer more calf trouble than a stable full of racehorses. He also doesn’t seem to be up to the physicality’s of the Premier league. Once more he’s bound to be on a pretty packet.

So there you Kevin,-To go with Stephen Carr, you have, Emre, Duff, N’Zogbia, Smith, Ameobi, theres the wage bill slashed dramatically, plus with money coming in via the transfer fee’s there shouldn’t be a problem with money.

Also didn’t Kevin get rid of a lot of Allaryce’s backroom staff? So I can’t see why the wages should be a problem at all.

This is not the time to be stingy, lets not forget, the net spend LAST summer was negligible and hardly set us up for a good season, we can’t afford to have a second summer like that.

I’ve said before, the squad doesn’t need major £80m alterations, but surely sitting on your thumbs and telling your manager to slash the wage bill and wait for your funds, isn’t going to get this club best set for pre-season.


Snapper said:

Things are bound to be quiet at the moment, managers on Holiday, yes they do get one, plus the impending Euro Championships suggest that any Euro team with assests to sell will wait until the championships finish or at least until their country's interests ends, in the hope their investment will add a zero or two to their transfer value, if they have a good championship. No I think it will be 4 or 5 weeks time before things start to happen.

Sandy Love said:

I wouldn't mind Duff staying he would be a great squad player and he is still basically recovering from his serious injury so we all need to give him some time. Milner must stay I would be devastated if he were to leave. I'd love for Charliue to stay but who knows. Smith needs to go really, he just doesn't fit in with the current players.

Big Kev said:

Why does James Milner always seem to be linked with moves elsewhere? He has been one of our most consistant players over the past couple of seasons yet it seems the club can't wait to ship him out. I thought the remit from above was to get as many good young players into the club as possible (which I believe is the way to go)so why keep trying to shift Milner? He's been treated disgracefuly by the club in the past yet has come back & given his all, selling him now would be a mistake & I would much rather see the likes of Duff, Smith & N'Zogbia go before Milner at least he seems to want to play for NUFC unlike the moody Frenchman. Oh & if he does go who will play on the right? & how much would we pay to replace him? We need to spend elswhere with a centre half, left back, centre & left midfielders & another striker needed before any other places are filled.

BigAL said:

It was not so much the switch to 4-4-2 that led to our demise at the hands of Chelsea but the introduction of the hapless Smith who is the most inept striker ever to pull on a black & white shirt. Even Stephane Guivarc'h managed to find the back of the net and he only put in 4 appearances. Smith on the other hand is rapidly approaching the 3 year mark without a single domestic goal to his name. That speaks for itself and lets not forget it was Smith who was supposedly marking Ballack when he scored the all important first goal for Chelsea. Sorry Lee it is not the formation that let us down against Chelsea, it was the deployment of Smith!

pedi said:

If players are available for transfer now, why arent we trying to sign our 'targets' now. If KK is on holiday the 3 unwise men should be earning their wages and going and getting the players on whoevers list. The longer we leave it the more chance of other teams getting in before us.
With the euro championships coming up any potential signings value could soar if they have a good tournament.

We have a small squad with high wages but we also have lots of board type personell to pay too. If Ash wants to lower the wage bill he should stop hiring so many of his cockney mates. We're like an offshore account for him, he does need to spend the cash to move us forward or face a struggle again next year.
Cant we put smith on ebay, not label him a striker (we'll be done by the trades description act) and see what we get? Id compile a video with his goals on but theres very little to go at.

Charles said:

The transfer window at Newcastle will stay frozen for now. I dont think KK will make any additions until the end of the Euro cup. Personally, I dont really think Newcastle is going to recruit any of the 'rumored' transfers.

So far we have been linked with Turan, Gomis, Emana, Wayne, Nicky Shorey and lots more I cant remmeber.

Turan is a good player but whether or not he will be allowed to go is unknown. A swoop will be nice but KK dont seem to be interested. Once again, another talent falling into the pit.

Gomis can actually be considered but his price value would have sky rocketed by the time Euro is over and possibly bigger teams would want him now. (Manchester United, of course.)

Emana, couldnt really give much comment. I have no idea whether or not he's coming. Nickey Shorey is quite like standing on a bamboo stick, I really dont think he will favor Newcastle for bigger teams. Aston Villa will probably bid for him.

Wayne? Need I explain further? We've got two keepers on the reserves, both star quality. That should justify the point that unless Newcastle keepers suddenly contracted Given's "Harewood's curse", I dont think Newcastle ever need to buy a keeper. (Unless the keeper is big enough to cover the whole goal area.)

Who says Shola hasnt been contributing? He's about to, by being sold away and no longer shall we be paying high wages to man-wearing-stilts.

Alan Smith is nothing but a leech and an annoying one too. He tries, credit to him, but still never going to be good enough. The reason ManU was so desperate to accept a 6M fee was completely justified...and we were stupid enough to cheer Big Sam for buying such a waste basket.

Duff got potential and so does Zog. Dont want to see them gone but if they go for the greater good of loosening the wallet, I'd let them go. Duff's got too much money every week while Zog? Just cant understand his mind, does he want to play or not?

One player I wont be allowing to move will be Milner. KK should do well in keeping the lad, for three good reasons:
1. He has the best potential and under KK, can improve a lot more.
2. He can shoot from afar, got skill and does defending as well. So far, he showed a lot of passion.
3. He keeps Geremi on the bench. This is the greatest contribution.

And a little note. We lost at Chelsea not because of the formation but because we lacked a physical presence in the entire midfield and strikers, which was contributed by Mark Viduka. Another reason was because A.Smith was playing. We were down to ten men the moment he entered and Chelsea capitalize on his demoralizing presence.

This can be proved by looking at the Everton game where 4-3-3 doesnt work. Why? Carrol is young, no blames there, but because A.Smith is playing. Once again, we were handicapped.

And if the reason for no good transfers next season turns out to be about money, I'll be taking out the pitching fork I've used to chase Freddie the last time he foiled us for money.

Ivor Clark said:

I said when KK was appointed that Ashley was an astute businessman, and will be wanting to MAKE money from NUFC. That means EITHER more success on the pitch (KK responsibility), CUTTING costs and overheads ( shipping out older, injury prone, talent-limited players) and INCREASING revenues - sell-on good players, but only for a PROFIT, restore pride in club and re-brand so fans will spend more, get rid of troublemakers in the ranks, encourage youth and in-community programmes - good PR.

For too long the Toon has had brill support but little success, however that is measured. The business model for the club had to be changed and that is what Mort, AShley et al have been doing. We will NOT see big money signings unless we prune the current squad. Much more emphasis will be placed on youth development, plus maybe one or two quality signings. Watch out also for the future regs on nationality of team members - think we will restrict to EC countries only......


Lee Ryder

Lee Ryder - Proudly born and bred on Tyneside, the Chronicle's chief sports writer has followed the fortunes of the club over the last three decades as a Toon fan and football writer.

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